Religious architecture has played a great role in the past centuries. Dating all the way back to the mythology eras, there were even architecture that involved some sort of religious belief. Through out this essay, the Greek architecture, the Byzantine religious architecture, as well as the Gothic religious architecture will be elaborated through three examples of these dated architectures: The Sacred Precincts of Athena and Zeus, Saint Marks of Venice, Italy, and the Amiens Gothic Cathedral of France.
The Reconstructed west front of the Altar of Zeus was erected on Pergamene, Acropolis at about 175 B. C. This is the most famous of all Hellenistic sculptural ensembles. This monument represents the Battle of Zeus and the Gods against the Giants. (Gardner p151) This buildings architecture represents the Roman eras. Greek artists attempted to construct a 400 ft. long frieze around the platform of the building with an epic of conflict for control of the world. The altar has vivid depictions of death and suffering all around. There is violent movement and battle everywhere.
This Altar represents the Gods and Goddess’s of the mythology era. The Hellenistic Kings were enormously rich at these times and built royal places for them selves as well as these sorts of Altars. This architecture is Ancient Greece Art. The Attalids enjoyed their immense wealth by building these sorts of precincts to show Rome’s great power. At this period of time, you are only rich if you are in the royal families. These types of architectural structures help the cities social outlook. It defined these cities into more of a cosmopolitan world. (Gardner p152)
Saint Mark’s Church from Venice, Italy, was built in 1063. The first Saint Mark’s was burned down from a fire, and during the second Saint Mark, there was a new shrine so the church was replaced. (Gardner p347) The Duke’s (Doges) enriched themselves and the city, through sea born commerce, serving as a crucial link between Byzantium and the West. (Gardner p347) This Christian Church was built in the Justinian’s time. In the 12th century it became the Cathedral of Venice. This church had great importance to the city, which is why the Duke remolded it all through the 11th century.
Now, the church is disguised on its lower level by Romanesque and Gothic additions. The style of this church came from the church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople. Although this church does not exist anymore, the architectural design is amazing. On the exterior there are great domes in the shape of a cross, made of copper. The interior is an asymmetrical composition. (Gardner p348) It is full of mosaics that are unbelievable. The interior has a Byzantine effect. There are arches, domes, and vaults throughout the building structure. This placed served as a martyriums and a palace chapel.
Religion is becoming very big at this period of time. The churches are growing immensely and the colors gold and copper are everywhere. The interior of this church has a power iconography. These walls are mosaics stories that tell masterpieces of emotion, hieratic, abstraction, and they reveal mysteries of the Christian Churches. Therefore, this church is very powerful. Nothing reflects on the world of matter, of solids, of lights, and shade of perspective space. This iconography has unbelievable meaning behind them from the work of a Venetian Master. (Gardner p348)
The Nave of Amiens Cathedral, of France, was started in 1220 and finished in 1236. This Christian Cathedral is built from the French Gothic. This was also the time of the Classical Revolution. This Cathedral was used for Mass’s. The Queens and Kings had the power and the money in this period of time. That is why the Cathedrals were so delicately detailed so fine. The proportions are more elegant than they ever have been before this church. There is a large amount of high gothic formula. (Gardner p503) The architecture reached a full self-sustaining skeletal maturity.
The frames of these Cathedrals were tall with slender supports. (Gardner p504) It is very obvious that religion was practiced or taught quite frequently in this time period because of the great depth of quality work put into these cathedrals. It seems, as the society was possibly very wealthy figuring the circumstances of the giant windows, with soaring vaults. Light also pays a definite role in these gothic buildings. In this cathedral, light dematerializes with the deep piercing walls and keeps a solid structure of detailed Gothic Architecture.
These three buildings have so many different qualities about them that are amazing. In the early Roman times, Rome was at their greatest power in the Mediterranean World. Society as we know it, was wealthy and talented. They hadn’t yet experienced the religious side of the world, such as Christ, but they did believe in the Gods and Goddess’s. Their buildings did not have as near the technology structure as Saint Mark’s and the Amiens Cathedral had, but for their time period, they were living like Gods. Saint Mark’s was many centuries later.
This church was the beginning of its kind. It was reconstructed and remodeled from years before, yet this type of style has stuck around ever since. The big vault ceilings and mosaic walls have such a creative architectural structure. Building churches like these creates more interest in religion. The French Gothic Churches may be the most detailed sort of churches around. Even after the Amiens Church was built, the architectural structure was elaborated even more. This just shows the careful detailed emotional love that people and of their society put into their religious beliefs.